Written as a tribute to musician Bill Bell (1936-2017), How Little Billy Learned to Play follows a young, fictionalized Bill Bell as he learns to play music in the Watertown neighborhood of East Moline, IL where he grew up.
Join "Little Billy" as he learns to play Hambone from his Uncle Ferdinand, jams with other famed East Moline musicians Esther Clark and Mallie Williams, and learns where the rhythm comes from.More info →
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom McKay is a historian and museum consultant who lives in his hometown of Hampton, Illinois. His debut novel, West Fork, was published by East Hall Press at Augustana College in 2014. His short novel, Another Life, was published by 918studio press in 2014. His short stories have appeared in the Wapsipinicon Almanac, Vermont Ink, Downstate Story, the Wisconsin River Valley Journal, the Book Rack Newsletter, and the Out Loud Anthology series of the Midwest Writing Center.More info →
VULNERABILITY ISN’T EASY. Writing, therefore, is similarly difficult. It’s one thing to put your feelings to paper, but to transform them into a full-fledged work of art is a true challenge. This summer, we seventeen interns spent seven weeks working together and encouraging one another to complete this challenge. While many writers often have to fight this uphill battle alone, we had the opportunity to connect over our similar passions and ensure one another that we were being heard.
Throughout the past seven weeks, we’ve learned how to say what’s important to us and how to find what we needed to say. Together, we’ve all contributed to creating a safe and supportive environment, and we’ve bonded over inside jokes and emotional vulnerability. The seventeen of us have grown into people we can be proud of, evolving from unsure teenagers into confident artists. We’ve learned about writing and editing and the world and even ourselves. We now go forward into the world, pen in hand, different than when we first arrived.
Each person participating in the YEW internship came from wildly varying backgrounds, yet all of us found a home here. We are seventeen people full of different memories, mistakes, and regrets, but in The Atlas, we found a shared voice. Through writing, we cracked ourselves open like eggs and found within us the freedom to tell people what we think, feel, and believe.
This is not just a book; this is a box that holds the beauty, pain, secrets, and lives of the seventeen young adults that created it. This book is an anthology of chaos. It’s made of sleepless nights and 3 a.m. talks, of stargazing and perpetually moving forward. This book is a house in which honesty and positivity are the sword and shield we wield against the world. Our collective voice is beautiful, chaotic, and sometimes downright insane, but it’s a voice that we stand by and believe in. The Midwest Writing Center is proud to present The Atlas 14.
The Young Emerging Writers 2019
Meditations in a Helicopter About to Explode Over a Guy Covered in Chum, Surfing Off of Shark Bay Beach
"Evil is fantastic, shimmering, totally boring. Devastation is causal, inevitable, photoshopped. Profundity is detached, a parking lot, the B-movie of your most banal, necessary daydreams. Love is all of the above. So fuck death. Send postcards to ghosts. These poems are that carnival’s electric promise: to swallow you in weird, transformative light. But that’s no frivolous escape, it’s the desperate attempt “to make / a retina out of my heart.” What to do when fire breaks out in the fun house? Eat it alive." - Nick Sturm, author of HOW TO LIGHTMore info →